Q: Why does the EVTA collect taxes?
Fares and passes represent a small — but important — portion of the budgets of transit systems. Tax revenue is essential to fund the majority of operations within a transit system to ensure consistent service levels. Currently, ECO Transit uses a voter-approved sales tax for its operations. The current ECO Transit sales tax funds existing service levels. Additional revenue from the EVTA’s half-penny sales tax will be used to increase frequency and capacity on ECO Transit’s routes, provide new services, and meet the facility, personnel, and equipment needs related to any expansion of services.
Q: What will happen to ECO Transit?
ECO Transit’s operations, services and funding will begin to transition to the EVTA over the coming year. ECO Transit is the core service platform for EVTA. Current ECO Transit services and routes will be maintained using the existing transit funding. Additional funding generated by the EVTA will allow ECO Transit’s services—such as express routes across the valley and more capacity along existing routes—to expand.
Q: What is ECO Transit’s current funding and will it continue?
In 1995, Eagle County voters approved a half-penny sales tax to fund transit and trails in the county. The tax funds both ECO Transit in the Eagle Valley and RFTA in the Roaring Fork Valley. It’s estimated that about 50 percent of this tax is paid by tourists and visitors to Eagle County. For ECO Transit, fares and passes only account for about 20 percent of its operational budget; the remaining operational funds are provided by the voter-approved tax, as well as grants and some state funding. This tax will not change or be replaced—since a portion goes to RFTA and ECO trails. The portion that supports ECO Transit operations will be transferred by the county to the EVTA to maintain that current service levels.
Q: Can other communities join the EVTA?
The EVTA’s goal is to improve service and transit options across the entire Eagle Valley and to better connect with neighboring jurisdictions where members of the county’s workforce live. The board will establish policies and a process for communities to join EVTA in the future. Communities that join will have to be accepted by the EVTA board, receive approval from their voters and receive voter approval for the sales tax to provide funding for EVTA services. Once a jurisdiction has joined EVTA, it will receive a seat on the governing board.
Q: Will the EVTA be able to increase fares?
The EVTA’s goal is to provide exceptional service at a price our community’s workforce, residents and businesses can afford. One of the primary service goals is to establish a fare-free zone along the current Highway 6 route to help get more people out their cars and using transit. The EVTA’s future fare policies will be determined by the governing board.
Q: Will the EVTA take over buses in Avon, Beaver Creek and Vail?
The purpose of the EVTA is to support regional transit services, such as services that connect one or more local communities. It is not intended to replace or provide funding for local, in-town transit systems. The towns of Avon and Vail, as well as Beaver Creek, will continue to operate their local transit services. The EVTA will work with these transit systems to better coordinate schedules, maintenance and other operations—and conduct cost-sharing and other economies of scale to best utilize financial resources.
The Eagle Valley Transportation Authority board will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 13. Agenda, Zoom link and information about providing public comment will be available on Dec. 8.